What Is a Mini Hippo Dog? Pictures & Guide

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 01/30/22 •  12 min read
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Mini Hippo Dog

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Are you curious about the Mini Hippo Dog? Would you like to learn more about these adorable, diminutive dogs? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! Not many people have heard about these tiny dogs.

We’ve done the research and put together information about these small dogs. One hint—these are not related to the hippopotamus!

Let’s get started!

What is a Mini Hippo Dog?


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The Mini Hippo Dog is a hybrid dog breed that’s a cross between the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel. No one really knows much about the history of these dogs. The parent dogs are purebreds that pass their genes onto their puppies. The puppies inherit characteristics from both parents; however, the puppies are not 50/50 mixes.

Instead, the puppies randomly inherit genes from their parents. This means that some of the Mini Hippo puppies in a litter may look different from one another. They may also have different personalities; you just never know!

The idea behind a hybrid mix is to create a healthier dog breed that has certain attributes from the parents. Of course, the hope is always the hybrid puppies only inherit their parents’ best qualities. But it’s possible the puppies could inherit some health problems or undesirable personality traits.

However, you can get an idea of what the puppies may be like from the characteristics of their parents.

Size of Mini Hippo Dogs

Mini Hippo dogs stand between 13 to 20 inches tall and weigh between 40 to 65 lbs. They have a life expectancy of between 10 to 15 years.


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Mini Hippo Parent Characteristics

Let’s start with the Shar-Pei! These dogs are extremely loyal to their pet parents and not so friendly with strangers. However, they do make wonderful guard and companion dogs.

The Shar-Pei has a short, broad snout that looks a little bit like the snout of a hippo! This is where the hybrid mix gets its name. Shar-Peis are also very intelligent and independent. They’re also usually pretty calm; however, they are wary of strangers and other dogs.

These dogs originally come from China, where they were bred to hunt, herd, and protect. Scientists believe the Shar-Pei may be an ancient dog breed. Their name means “sand skin,” which refers to the dogs’ bristly coats. The dogs are also famous for their very wrinkly skin!

Shar-Peis are very calm dogs that can live almost anywhere, including in an apartment. They’re very independent and somewhat aloof. They make great watchdogs, too.

Now, let’s take a look at the Cocker Spaniel parent. Cocker Spaniels come from the Spaniel family of dogs. These are a large group that is ancient. It’s thought the dogs originally came from Spain, where they were bred to be hunting dogs.

Cocker Spaniels have long been a favorite in the US. The dogs are prized for being happy-go-lucky and having a great temperament. People also love the dogs for their lovely flowing hair. The dogs are loving and very gentle. They are also loyal and want to spend as much time with their families as possible.

Mini Hippo Characteristics


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With parents like the Shar-Pei and the Cocker Spaniel, the Mini Hippo should be the cutest dog around! When you see a Mini Hippo dog, you may think the dog is a stuffed animal. This is how cute they are!

Mini Hippos have the short hippo-like nose of their Shar-Pei parent. These dogs usually have a large head that seems a little too bulky for their body. You might say these adorable small dogs look like toy stuffed animals!

The coat of the Mini Hippo can vary depending on the genetics the puppy inherits. Some Mini Hippos may have wavy hair that flows and feels soft and silky. This is called the “bear” coat.

Other Minis may have a shorter, dense coat that feels a bit rough. This coat is called the “horse” coat.

Then there’s the third coat between the “bear” and the “horse” coats. This third coat may be short but soft and less dense than the horse coat. This coat is called the “brush” coat.

Mini Hippos come in a wide range of colors, including red, black, cream, tan, brown, blue, silver, and tri-color.

You just never know for sure how a hybrid dog’s genes will come out!

Mini Hippo Temperament


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Just as their characteristics can vary, so does the Mini Hippos temperament! However, most Mini Hippos tend to be more like their Cocker Spaniel parent. They are intelligent, loyal, and very protective.

As with other dog breeds, to have a well-balanced, happy dog, it’s essential the puppy be socialized and trained from a young age. The puppy then has the best chance of being friendly and affectionate, and well-behaved.

However, these dogs can be challenging for inexperienced pet parents. Some Mini Hippos may be more like their Shar-Pei parents and be overly protective or even aggressive. However, the Cocker Spaniel can also be aggressive. This means training and socialization are essential in these adorable dogs.

Some people tend to overlook the importance of socialization in a dog. However, this is just as crucial as proper obedience training. Socialization is the process of teaching your dog how to behave around other animals and people. The dog also learns to behave in different environments and not be fearful.

Well-socialized dogs are not only behaved, but they’re also relaxed and safer. The dog is comfortable in a wide range of situations and tends not to use aggression when afraid. A dog that’s not socialized can be dangerous to others around him. Socialization also helps keep the dog safe.

Along with obedience training, you may be able to find socialization classes for puppies. The pups usually begin this process when they’re about three months old.

Obedience training and socialization can help your dog be more relaxed, better behaved, and safe to himself and those around him.

Training A Mini Hippo Dog

Training is usually pretty straightforward and easy with the Mini Hippo, especially if the dog is more like their Cocker Spaniel parent. Cockers are eager to please and love to learn new things with you!

The key to training a Mini Hippo dog is to be consistent with your efforts. Keep training sessions short and fun, using the positive reinforcement training methods.

Training time can be a way to provide the dog with a little exercise and mental stimulation at the same time. Be sure to have plenty of praise and treats on hand, too!


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Mini Hippo Dog Exercise Requirements

Mini Hippo Dogs are not as energetic as some other dog breeds! However, they still need a daily walk and playtime to stay healthy and in good shape. Walks also provide the dog with plenty of mental stimulation. You’ll find he wants to read the “news” at different places along the walk (sniff where other dogs have been)!

Mini Hippo Dog Health

Hybrid dog breeds, like the Mini Hippo, can be prone to certain health issues that affect their parents’ breeds. Here are the health issues that can affect the Mini Hippo:

The best way to keep a Mini Hippo dog healthy is to take him to the vet regularly. Regular checkups let the vet find health issues before they become major problems. In many cases, it’s easier to treat and cure a health problem when it’s small. When some conditions are left untreated, they can become severe or even life-threatening. They’re also more difficult or impossible to cure. So, it’s best to take the dog to the vet every few months of a checkup. And the dog needs to get their required vaccinations!

If you’re concerned your dog could develop a serious health issue, then you may want to consider purchasing pet health insurance. There are many policies available that cover everything from checkups and routine treatments to vaccinations, tests, and more. Just be sure to read the entire policy so you understand what the pet health insurance covers (or not). That way, you’ll have a little financial help if your fur baby does get sick.

Grooming the Mini Hippo Dog

Next, let’s take a look at what grooming the Mini Hippo dog requires. Grooming depends on the type of coat the dog has. Dogs that have the horse coat tend to need less grooming than the bear coat. The bear coat tends to shed more than the horse coat.

The Mini Hippo needs a bath about once a month, no matter the type of coat he has. And the dog should be brushed at least once a week. What’s more, they also benefit from daily brushing during shedding season (that comes twice a year).

Because these dogs are prone to ear infections, it’s also important their ears are checked weekly. They can develop waxy buildup and other problems that can lead to ear infections.


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Are Mini Hippo Dogs Hypoallergenic?

The truth is that no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Each dog breed has its own proteins, which are found in the saliva, dander, and urine. These proteins are expressed in the dog’s environment through drooling, saliva, going potty, and in the dead skin/fur sloughing off. These proteins cause an allergic reaction and asthma in people who are sensitive to them.

The protein in the dogs is what people are sensitive to. Each person’s allergies are unique. Some people react to all dogs, while others may only react to short-hair or long-hair dogs. It depends on the proteins the person is sensitive to.

It’s possible some people may not be as allergic to the Mini Hippo, and then others will have a massive allergic reaction. It just depends on what they’re allergic to and how their immune systems react to the proteins.

So, it may be necessary for the allergic person to spend some time with the Mini Hippo before bringing the dog home. It’s best to spend time with the dog more than once to determine if an allergic reaction may occur.

Do Mini Hippo Dogs Make Good Family Companions?

Yes, as long as the dog has been trained and socialized from an early age. Then these dogs make excellent family companions.

These dogs are best for families that have a lot of time to spend with the dog. They should also have time to provide consistent training, socialization, and exercise.


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Finding a Mini Hippo Dog

There are really two options when it comes to finding a Mini Hippo Dog. The options are adopting from a responsible breeder or from a shelter.

You’ll have many benefits when adopting from a reputable breeder. For one thing, they love the breed and have extensive knowledge about the dogs. They also care for the welfare of their dogs and puppies. Dogs and puppies are in clean, spacious pens and receive proper food and medical treatment. In addition, breeders can provide a health guarantee if a puppy becomes ill.

Adopting from a breeder is more expensive. The Mini Hippo could cost over $1000 from a reputable breeder.

On the other hand, adopting from a shelter can be more affordable. These dogs have been given up for different reasons. Not all of these dogs have behavioral or other problems. Shelter dogs need and deserve a loving family and fur-ever home just like other dogs.

However, you may not know much about the dog’s history or health. Even so, this is usually the cheaper option. The dogs have had required medical treatment and vaccinations. They’re usually in very good health, too. What’s more, the shelter can provide more information about the dog’s personality and quirks.

Adopting from a shelter can run between $100 to $300, depending on where you live.

In addition, it’s generally cheaper to adopt a dog in a small city or rural area than in an urban center.

Summing It Up

Mini Hippo Dogs are adorable! However, they need plenty of training and socialization. They’re best for families who can spend time with the dogs and offer consistent training and socialization. Most of all, the family needs to provide love for these adorable Mini Hippo Dogs!

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!